Kawhi Leonard recorded 34 points and Paul George scored 31 to help the Los Angeles Clippers post a 132-106 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the Western Conference semi-finals.
Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum added 17 points apiece for fourth-seeded Los Angeles, who closed the game with a 26-11 run. Leonard also provided 12 rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points in 32 minutes for top-seeded Utah but missed the final seven minutes after tweaking his right ankle, his withdrawal also stemming from the score becoming one-sided.
Utah’s Mike Conley (hamstring) missed his third straight contest. Joe Ingles scored 19 points for the Jazz, Jordan Clarkson added 14 points, Rudy Gobert contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Royce O’Neale also scored 12 points.
Los Angeles Clippers starters
The Clippers made 19 of 36 from three-point range while shooting 56.2 per cent overall; George was six of 10 from long range, Jackson made five of six and Batum hit four of six.
The Jazz shot 42.9 per cent from the field and were 19 of 44 from behind the arc, Mitchell going five of nine and Ingles five of eight.
Utah trailed 106-95 after a three-pointer by Clarkson with 7:18 left. Mitchell appeared to reinjure the ankle on the next possession and left the contest.
The Clippers took advantage by scoring 10 straight points, with Leonard and Batum draining consecutive three-pointers to cap the spurt and make it 116-95 with 5:22 left.
Utah Jazz starters
Mitchell was pleading with Jazz coach Quin Snyder during the latter portion of the Los Angeles run to let him go back into the game but was turned down. He joined Utah legend Karl Malone as the lone players in franchise history to score at least 30 points in five straight postseason contests. Malone did it six straight times (three in 1995, three in 1996).
The Clippers led 66-49 after Leonard’s basket to start the second half but the Jazz whittled away and moved within 84-76 on a three-pointer by Bojan Bogdanovic with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
Los Angeles scored 10 of the next 14 points to take a 14-point advantage on Luke Kennard’s three-pointer before holding a 94-83 edge heading into the final stanza.
George scored 20 first-half points as Los Angeles held a 64-49 lead. Mitchell scored his first points of the game with 7:34 remaining in the first half to start a run in which he scored 16 straight Utah points
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